As a person, it makes sense for Tiger Woods to take time off from golf to mend whatever fences he can with his family. And we wish him well.
As a brand icon, though, we would encourage him to get back to the sport as soon as possible.
There are two sides to Tiger Woods, “the brand.” Side A is the golfer—the prodigy, number one in the sport for almost a decade, Mozart with a club and ball, anointed heir to the title “greatest golfer of all time.” Without this, there is no brand.
Side B is his clean, wholesome image. Not only is Tiger an extraordinary golfer, he is (was) a hell of a good guy. The kind of guy you’d introduce to your sister. Everybody liked and trusted Tiger.
The perfect combination: great golfer, great guy.
Unfortunately, it’s unlikely Tiger will ever fully recover Side B of his brand image. That largely disappeared with the bevy of bimbos he chose to consort with. Gone forever. The best he can do now to stem the bleeding and close the open wound is to make a public apology to his wife, family, PGA, sponsors and friends, and to promise to make amends for his transgressions. Americans’ value vulnerability and appreciate genuine apologists.
But few fans will forget. Not for a long time.
And that poses a problem for sponsors, who generally don’t like to be associated with adulterers. Watch as they slowly, one by one, discontinue or “postpone” their associations with Tiger.
The best thing Tiger can do for Tiger the brand is to get back into the game. To reconnect with what made him a great brand to start with. If he plays well, new sponsors will surely emerge–sponsors who will see value and appeal in the rehabilitated Tiger.
In the meantime, he should keep publicly atoning and try not to travel alone.